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John Glenn

Birthdate: 18. July 1921
Date of death: 8. December 2016

John Herschel Glenn Jr. was a United States Marine Corps aviator, engineer, astronaut, and United States Senator from Ohio. In 1962, he became the first American to orbit the Earth, circling it three times.

Before joining NASA, Glenn was a distinguished fighter pilot in World War II, China and Korea. He shot down three MiG-15 aircraft, and was awarded six Distinguished Flying Crosses and eighteen Air Medals. In 1957, he made the first supersonic transcontinental flight across the United States. His on-board camera took the first continuous, panoramic photograph of the United States.

He was one of the Mercury Seven, military test pilots selected in 1959 by NASA as the United States' first astronauts. On February 20, 1962, Glenn flew the Friendship 7 mission, becoming the first American to orbit the Earth, and the fifth person and third American in space. He received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 1962 and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990, and was the last surviving member of the Mercury Seven.

Glenn resigned from NASA in January 1964. He planned to run for a U.S. Senate seat from Ohio, but an injury in February 1964 forced his withdrawal. He retired from the Marine Corps the following year. He lost a close primary election in 1970. A member of the Democratic Party, Glenn first won election to the Senate in 1974 and served for 24 years until January 1999.

In 1998, while still a sitting senator, Glenn became the oldest person to fly in space as a crew member of the Discovery space shuttle and the only person to fly in both the Mercury and Space Shuttle programs. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

„I don't think many people remember what life was like in those days“

—  John Glenn

As quoted in "John Glenn had the stuff U.S. heroes are made of" by Howard Wilkinson, in The Cincinnati Enquirer (20 February 2002).
Context: I don't think many people remember what life was like in those days … This was the era when the Russians were claiming superiority, and they could make a pretty good case — they put up Sputnik in '57; they had already sent men into space to orbit the earth… There was this fear that perhaps communism was the wave of the future. The astronauts, all of us, really believed we were locked in a battle of democracy versus communism, where the winner would dominate the world.

„To me, there is no greater calling … If I can inspire young people to dedicate themselves to the good of mankind, I've accomplished something.“

—  John Glenn

On inspiring others to public service, as quoted in "John Glenn had the stuff U.S. heroes are made of http://enquirer.com/editions/2002/02/20/loc_john_glenn_had_stuff.html" by Howard Wilkinson, in The Cincinnati Enquirer (20 February 2002).

„The most important thing we can do is inspire young minds and to advance the kind of science, math and technology education that will help youngsters take us to the next phase of space travel.“

—  John Glenn

As quoted in "Space All systems go for National Space Day" at CNN (4 May 2000) http://articles.cnn.com/2000-05-03/tech/space.day_1_challenger-center-space-science-education-international-space-station-the?_s=PM:TECH; also at John Glenn Friendship 7 Day http://www.bandmonline.com/john-glenn-friendship-7-day-1.2673727#.TzyskbSt3LQ.

„Could this have just happened?... I can’t believe that … Some Power put all this into orbit and keeps it there.“

—  John Glenn

Exclaimed regarding the order in the universe. Cited in Awake! magazine (June 22, 1999).

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